Amazon and me

I’ve been concerned about Amazon charging the full retail price of $24.50 for Matcher Rules, as I mentioned before and I’ve niggled away at the problem, and I’ve (sort of) solved it. I sell the paperbacks myself, on Amazon, at a lower price.

Amazon does not do price matching for books, and it took quite a bit of pounding around on their site to find this out, because the back end of Amazon is not as well-organized as the front end. True, it’s better than Lulu, but Amazon does have more money. I got a definitive answer from a chat session with an Amazon rep. One of my friends who has his privately printed memoirs for sale on Amazon gave me some pointers and I set myself up as a seller. So when you go to Amazon for Matcher Rules there is a choice of prices for the paperback. Remember I have to buy the copies from Lulu and get them shipped to me, so I’m cautiously offering them at $18.00 plus shipping so my costs are covered.

There’s no answer on Lulu as to why they are not listed as a seller on Amazon, with their discounted prices. My guess: Lulu has a legal agreement with Amazon which precludes them doing this, and I suppose it makes sense because it’s always possible to buy a book directly from a publisher but you don’t see those publishers as sellers on Amazon. Also, Amazon has a contract with Lulu as a POD supplier where orders through Amazon get 24-hour fulfillment, unlike the rest of the orders including those from authors.

However, according to other authors on Lulu’s discussion forums, Amazon will lower their prices without notice and at random, leading to the bizarre situation where it can be cheaper to purchase copies of your own book from Amazon and pay less than you pay to Lulu. There may be some time limit or other trigger event affecting the price, which can then re-set to full retail. The mysterious ways of supply and demand? Phases of the moon?

Right now, the cheapest way to buy a paperback of Matcher Rules is on Lulu, followed by ordering it from me via Amazon, then directly from Amazon. And no, you can’t send me an email and order the book directly because I’d like as much ISBN-tracking as possible for statistical purposes and (ahem) tax records. Right now if I read the rules correctly this qualifies as a hobby but perhaps in the future it won’t. I can hope.